Now more than ever, we need to be in nature to be healthy. There is plenty of historical, medical, observational and anecdotal evidence about this. I should know, I wrote my dissertation about it.
I am an assistant professor of public health at Fort Lewis College, and I study how human behavior affects health. I am also a former park ranger, and so I know – as many Durangoans know – that getting outside is great for my mental, physical and spiritual health.
And until recently, it was also good for my social health, connecting with friends by doing outdoor activities.
But with the outbreak of COVID-19, now is the time to go outside on your own. I know it seems trivial – and that you can maintain six feet apart while outside – but now is not the time to risk it.
We are social beings, and most social contact happens without you realizing it. Also, you are most likely to transmit the virus before you show symptoms.
While I’m heartened to see so many take to the outdoors to keep healthy during this time, I am both saddened and upset to see so many groups of people doing it together. Public health only works if we take necessary measures before they seem necessary.
If it works, it will look like we overreacted. That is our goal.
Please, please, continue to go outside, just do it alone.